Do you gaze upon your closets and shelves and see chotskies, toys, books or clothes you no longer use or need? Don’t lug unwanted items to your next duty station. Turn your trash into cash without holding a yard sale or exposing yourself to the unknowns of Craigslist.
While yard sales can be a great way to declutter, they are exhausting. No one wants to spend a weekend moving items from the house to the garage, pricing knickknacks, haggling with would-be buyers and then peeling off stickers from leftover items that didn’t sell. Meeting up with strangers on Craigslist brings its own risks.
Turn your closet into cash
Marine Corps spouse Sara Carey became a fan of Poshmark after turning down a brick-and-mortar consignment store’s offer to buy two of her higher-end dresses for $10 each. She created a Poshmark account, uploaded photos and sold the dresses for $75 a piece. In the two years since that sale, Carey estimates she has earned more than $2,000 using the app.
“I look at it as a way to have a rotating closet. If I buy something in season, I can turn around and sell it and get some money back. I will use that money to buy something in the new season,” said Carey, who purchased an inexpensive mannequin to better advertise her clothes on the site.
Women’s name brands like Lululemon, Kate Spade and Vince Camuto sell best, but Poshmark includes lesser labels as well as men’s and children’s clothing, handbags, jewelry, shoes, accessories and makeup.
‘Big Purge’ pays dividends
After Kelley Lord’s husband retired from the Army, the family purchased a home in their Orlando neighborhood. While their final military move covered a short distance, Lord was motivated to do “the big purge” before putting down roots in Florida. Lord estimates she sold about 100 toys, household or other items on Amazon. EBay was her go-to shopping site for re-homing Disney collectibles or other memorabilia.
“I got two bread makers for Christmas one year,” Lord recalls. “I didn’t have a receipt for either one. There was nothing wrong with it, but I wasn’t going to be able to take it back to a store. I sent one to Amazon and they sold it for me” using Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon program. The fee-based service allows private sellers to send items to an Amazon warehouse, which then packs and ship orders to buyers who receive free shipping using Amazon Prime.
“It’s like an upscale yard sale for all your new stuff,” Lord says.
What began as a method to recoup money on unopened presents has morphed into a side hustle for the Lords who make extra cash reselling discontinued toys they buy during clearance sales at big-box retailers.
“If you wait a year, they are in demand because people can’t find them anymore,” Lord explains.
Dust off your book shelf
Navy spouse and finance writer Kate Horrell uses the BookScouter app – a price-searching tool that compares dozens of buyback vendors – to convert her family’s used books into dollars.
“I wait until I have a stack of books, spend 15 minutes figuring out the top sales price (or maybe two or three if they’re the same) and see if I have enough to sell to any one company to make an order,” she says. “I probably sell every six months. Sometimes I make $20, sometimes I make $200.”
Some other ways to turn your clutter into cash:
thredUP – An online consignment clothing store for name brand clothes, jewelry and accessories. Sellers order a “Clean Out Bag,” which they fill and return postage paid to thredUP. Accepted items can be purchased upfront by thredUP or consigned to the site. Payout percentages for lower valued articles, however, can be low.
Decluttr – CDs, DVDs, video games, cell phones, game consoles and toys all are bought and sold on decluttr. The site pays $1 per pound for Legos, for example, while their barcode-scanner app provides instant pricing for other items.
Gamestop – This retail franchise buys video games, gaming systems, phones, tablets and accessories. Sellers can receive cash or trade credit.
Cardpool – This gift card site offers instant payouts for physical and electronics gift cards from hundreds of retailers, as well as store credits for hundreds of popular brands. If paid by check or with a gift card, payouts are equal to up to 92 percent of a card’s value. 6 percent bonus for using the Amazon gift card redemption option.
Plato’s Closet – This retail franchise with locations throughout the United States focuses on gently used trendy clothing for teens and young adults. Payouts are based on style, condition and brand.
Nearly Newly Wed – Do you love your wedding dress but no longer want to move it from duty station to station? Nearly Newly Wed, an online retailer of preowned wedding dresses, engagement rings and bridal accessories, handles buyer inquiries, payments and customer service for a $25 listing fee. Sellers receive 60 percent of final sale price.
VarageSale /Facebook Marketplace /Nextdoor – These community-based platforms enable members to buy and sell new and used items locally. Because your geographic neighbors are members of these sites, many users believe buying and selling is easier, safer and less spam-filled than on Craigslist.
AmeriForce Media is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business founded in 1999. The company utilizes talent from the military community to produce print and digital offerings that inform, entertain, and support today’s warfighters and their families.
Its flagship products, Military Families Magazine and Reserve & National Guard Magazine, are delivered direct to active-duty and reserve component units across the globe. In 2020, AFM partnered with the Military Influencer Conference to create a new publication called the Military Influencer Magazine.